Culture and social inclusion, as we have seen, are a central part of Swiss cultural policy (see chapter 4 for details on legal foundations). Within the frame of “Cultural Participation”, as well as “Language”, “Cultural Diversity”, “Culture and Society”; this thematic is transversal. Through amateur practices, folk culture and volunteering in the cultural sector, there are many ways in which the population participates in the making of culture.
The vitality of a multilingual, four-language country and the great cultural diversity it gives rise to make social cohesion a key issue in Switzerland. At the federal level, the Languages Act has been enacted to make a considerable contribution to attaining social cohesion. Intermediary organisations, such as the working consortium “Parlez-vous Suisse?”, also create awareness by promoting cultural policy in schools, the media, among political authorities, and within business and industry. Social cohesion is considered to be an irreplaceable instigator as well as the backbone of cultural diversity. It is, therefore, also an essential element of any economic and societal coexistence. This basic stance is reflected in both the federal Constitution and the relevant laws, such as the new Culture Promotion Act and the Languages Act. Repeatedly referred to in this context is the key role of the media. In the larger centres, public bodies maintain their departments of socio-culture.
On the level of the cantons and cities, numerous public and private initiatives address integration issues within cultural and socio-cultural approaches (see chapters 1.1 and 2.5.1).
In the 2021-2024 Culture Dispatch, culture and society are one of the main priorities. There are measures announced concerning the will to reinforce cultural participation, with cultural mediation, for instance, to promote reading, reinforce music education for all children and young people, support young musical talents, create a legal base for living traditions, amongst others. Another area of support concerns minorities: The Yenish, Sinti and Roma communities are recognised as national minorities within the meaning of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) of the Council of Europe. Switzerland has committed itself to promoting framework conditions that enable minorities to cultivate and develop their culture. This applies in particular to the nomadic way of life of the Yenish, Sinti and Roma communities and the Yenish language.
In the period 2021-2024, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia intends to break down barriers to the Swiss cultural sector for cultural practitioners from marginalised population groups (Dossier diversity and equal opportunities in the cultural sector).